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Huguenots in the Atlantic  

Bryan A. Banks

Huguenots refer to the group of French Calvinists in France, those expelled from France into the wider European, Atlantic, and global diaspora, and those descendant from either of the first two groups. Driven by faith, religious factionalism, and dynastic rivalries, Huguenots enflamed the French Wars of Religion (1562–1598). Henri IV ended the war by extending a degree of toleration to the Huguenots in 1598 with the Edict of Toleration. Despite the king’s royal edict, the first wave of Huguenots (1530s–1660s) continued to leave France well into the 17th century. The second wave (1670s–1710s) occurred in the second half of the 17th century, when Louis XIV’s persecutory policies began to limit Huguenot communal activities, meeting spaces, available professions, and then with the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes (1685), the ability to be Calvinist legally at all. Following 1685, those who remained in France entered into what is often called the Désert period, when French Calvinists continued to practice their faith in clandestine settings, away from the French dragonnades. Those who rode the two waves out of France, settled in the Netherlands, Switzerland, Great Britain, Ireland, and many of the German states. Some used other European states to ride successive waves of diaspora movement out further into Europe and the Atlantic World, relocating to North America, the Caribbean, Suriname, Brazil, South Africa, and then later on into the Indian and Pacific oceanic worlds. Huguenots took advantage of Atlantic spaces in order to prove their value to the French state, but when France no longer proved safe for Huguenots, the Atlantic offered them a refuge, wherein a complex diaspora community emerged in the early modern period.

Article

The Welsh Colony in Patagonia  

Marcelo Gavirati

In July of 1865, some 160 Welsh immigrants settled in the valley of the Chubut River, located in the middle of a Patagonian territory controlled by the Indigenous Tehuelche. This was to be the beginning of a unique colonization process. Unlike many other migratory experiences, the colonizing effort promoted by a group of Welsh nationalist leaders was aimed at liberating their compatriots from the oppression to which they felt they had been subjected in the United Kingdom. Their utopian objective was to establish a “New Wales,” in which they could work their own land, freely practice their language (Cymraeg, in Welsh) and the religion of their nonconformist denominations, and achieve a certain degree of political autonomy. In spite of facing an unknown and arid territory, the Welsh managed to produce wheat irrigated by canals. What is more, they would overcome prejudices about the “savage” nature of the Indigenous peoples, eventually working with the Pampa and Tehuelche tribes to develop a model of peaceful coexistence based on complementary economic practices, providing a unique example of relations between Europeans and Native Americans. Economic development allowed the arrival of additional contingents of settlers. During the first decades, Welsh was the language of daily life, in social, political, economic, cultural, and religious contexts. The valley of the Chubut River became dotted with chapels. But in 1885, after the military campaigns that deprived the Indigenous peoples of their territories, the Argentine government materialized its sovereign presence over Patagonia. Although in 1891 Argentina made possible the creation of a new Welsh settlement in a valley of the Andean foothills, the process of nationalization and assimilation was underway. Influences within the political and educational spheres, as well as the arrival of immigrants of other nationalities, allowed the national government to gradually displace the Welsh from their position of primacy in the Chubut territory. Although the autonomous Welsh Utopia did not flourish, some traces remain. More than 155 years after the arrival of the first contingent, there are still Welsh speakers and students in Patagonia. The eisteddfod and the arrival of the first immigrants’ ship are celebrated every July 28, a date officially considered to be the founding of the current province of Chubut.

Article

Chile: A Center of Global Astronomy, 1850–2019  

Bárbara K. Silva

By 2020, it is expected that approximately 70 % of the world’s surface astronomical observation will be located in Chile, considering both optical and infrared telescopes, belonging to international institutions. How did this happen? Can we explain the overwhelming importance of astronomy in this southern country only because of its geography? This process began when scientists from Europe, the United States, and the Soviet Union went to Chile in the 1960s, and each one of them decided to build a massive observatory in the country. The atmospheric conditions certainly had a role in these decisions, but they were also related to Cold War politics and, indirectly, to the previous history of astronomy in Chile. The international dimension of astronomy in Chile had been preset since the mid-19th century, when the first modern astronomy initiative took place. An American expedition built the first observatory, which later became the National Astronomical Observatory. By the early 20th century, another American expedition had arrived in Chile, and this one stayed for more than twenty years. Decades later, the global dimension of astronomy took the decisive step in the southern country and set the milestone for the development in the hands of Europeans, Americans and Soviets. In the process, Chileans became involved with astronomy, trying to promote science, the country’s international relations, and to grasp the attractions of modernity.